Did Modern Coal Seams Form in a Peat Swamp? | The Institute for Creation Research
 
Did Modern Coal Seams Form in a Peat Swamp?

Most geologists are trained to think from a uniformitarian perspective—that "the present is the key to the past"—that present uniform processes operating throughout the past account for all present rock units. This concept considers coal to be the altered remains of plant material accumulated in a peat swamp. Let's look at modern peat swamps and the peat accumulating in their brackish waters and see if they would make a good coal.

Today's peat swamps sport extensive vegetation growing in shallow water or on saturated high ground. Nowhere can a laterally extensive flat surface be found. The decaying organic material collects in the stagnant, acidic water and takes on a rather "coffee grounds" texture with the wood and bark quite decayed, thoroughly penetrated by roots and animal burrows.

Let's compare this with a typical coal found in the geologic record. Although tectonics subsequent to deposition may have tilted or faulted the coal, modern coal seams usually show an extremely regular geometry. Often a knife-edge contact between the coal and the layers above and below can be seen. Most often the adjacent layers are shale or limestone, both "marine" deposits which necessitate a quite different environment of dep-osition from a terrestrial swamp. This involves repeated down warping and subsequent uplift in uniformitarian thinking.

The coal matrix is typically very fine grained, but surrounds abundant sheets of altered bark, recognizably different from the rest, giving coal a layered look. Seldom are roots present. Thin "clay partings" are almost always seen within the coal, often laterally extensive. They can be traced and correlated—some for miles. The seams are usually of rather constant thickness, and the now-flat bark sheets are consistent with the width and height of a tree. Although some variation does exist in all these parameters, everything about a coal seems different from a modern swamp peat, except it's high organic makeup.

Coal seams near Price, Utah.  The lower seam is about 3' thick.The accompanying photograph shows two coal seams visible in a road cut near Price, Utah. Observe the sharp contacts between the coal and the adjacent layers. If a swamp existed above sea level, but then was inundated by the sea to receive overlying marine sediments, then uplifted to become a swamp again, and the cycle repeated, one would think there would be some erosional channels or variation in peat thickness? How could they be so flat and of constant thickness, and how could there be such precise contacts above and below?

Modern-day peats do not seem to be of the same character as modern-day coals. Perhaps the creation model of decaying plant material collecting under a large floating mat during the Great Flood of Noah's day provides a better answer.

Cite this article: Morris, J. 2003. Did Modern Coal Seams Form in a Peat Swamp? Acts & Facts. 32 (8).

The Latest
NEWS
Honeybees: How Sweet It Is, Again
After some scary population downturns and scarier rumors of bee populations crashing, honeybees are making a comeback, populationally speaking.1,2...

NEWS
Dolphins Learn Tricks from Peers to Catch Fish
Dolphins—like other cetaceans such as whales, wholphins, and porpoises—are highly intelligent marine mammals, capable of astonishing feats....

NEWS
Liberty and the Word of God
“And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts” (Psalm 119:45). July 4th is called Independence Day here in our country because on...

NEWS
Wandering Albatross: Wide Wings on the Winds
Wandering albatrosses have the largest wingspan of any living bird, so they live much of life soaring above the oceans. With their wings—and a lot...

NEWS
Inside July 2020 Acts & Facts
Where can we find hope during times of waiting? How has ICR reached a new global audience? How does evolution conflict with the Bible's teaching...

NEWS
Soft Dinosaur Eggs Deflate Bird-Dinosaur Evolution
A pair of new studies found that some dinosaurs, and possibly some marine reptiles, laid squishy eggs. One study discovered that many dinosaurs, like turtles...

ACTS & FACTS
Encouraging Notes During the Storm
Without a doubt, the global spread of COVID-19 has forced most of us to make major adjustments to our daily routines. Whether the stay-at-home mandates...

APOLOGETICS
God's Grassroots Provision
In times of calamity and crisis, it’s easy to question whether life makes sense—or, more accurately, how God is making ultimate sense of...

ACTS & FACTS
Why Do I Believe in Recent Creation?
A student recently asked what I believe about the age of the earth. I replied that at one time I felt absolutely certain that the world was billions...

ACTS & FACTS
Walton's Cosmic Temple Is a House of Cards
A series of books and videos by Dr. John Walton, an Old Testament theologian at Wheaton College, has made a huge splash in the evangelical community...